At the tail-end of this 40-year historical low in mortgage rates (or so they say – I didn’t exactly investigate that for authenticity), my husband and I are in the middle of re-financing our mortgage. I figured that even dropping a few percentage points from our current rate would be worth the usual scrutiny and paper-shuffling they put you through. Now, I’m almost not so sure.
Helix V. Bank by Pip Helix (Davin’s Den)
It’s not like anyone is particularly thrilled with having to talk about their finances with strangers, but there is something excruciating about being in the bank, being interrogated about your financial habits, and feeling more judged than the fat kid when it’s time to pick sides for kickball. I loathe the credit check portion in particular. I’d rather be at a Weight Watchers meeting weigh-in the day after going to town at the all-you-can-eat buffet in a barbeque joint. Actually, I’d really much rather be at the weigh-in, because there, the only one judging you harshly is yourself. It’s totally different at the bank. Some guy in a suit, usually someone younger than me now, looks down their nose at me because I paid my credit cards late a few times and my credit rating is not super high. Excuse me for being fucking human!
The rules of why your credit rating goes up or down do not seem exactly logical to the layperson (that would be me and Mr. Helix), and the mysteries of what is a good move regarding your credit rating versus what is a bad move are infuriating to me. I don’t mean the obvious stuff like not paying your bills. I mean the weird things that the credit powers that be consider risky. Open up a new account? Bad. Have too much available credit? Bad. Use too much of your available credit? Bad. Don’t use any of your available credit? Bad. Close too many accounts at once? BAD. There are so many ways you can go wrong, I nearly hyperventilated when a nice saleswoman in a store asked if I wanted to save money that day by opening up a store credit card. “Oh my GOD, woman, what are you thinking? I will sink all chances of borrowing money ever again if I blow it now! Who knows WHAT that will do to my credit rating!” I thought. Luckily, I just smiled and said no thank you, but I broke out in a fine sweat at the mere suggestion.
The other thing that confuses me is that the bank seems to be willfully obtuse about some of the reasons our finances look the way they do. Mr. Helix and I have worked out a system where he hands over some of his paychecks to me, and I deposit them in my checking account, where the automatic withdrawals for a lot of our bills are set up. I have heard that this is pretty normal stuff amongst our friends, but not at the bank. They could not understand why Mr. Helix had not paid any utility bills since we’ve lived in our house. Well, DUH, I just explained that. He gives me the money, I pay the bills. We are married and this is fairly normal. What don’t you get, Mr. Bank?
A lot of stupidity later, the bank decided that things would go better with the re-fi if the mortgage was in my name only. Fine, whatever, we thought. Just get me the damn paperwork already. Well, then the bank wanted to know specifically what was the source of several deposits into my account every month – what is that mysterious and suspicious source of income I was hiding. Uh HELLOOOOO, my HUSBAND gives me money to pay the bills?! Didn’t we cover this, rocket scientist? GAAAAAAH!
I thought we were done, but I got a phone call yesterday asking for the newest bank statement from one of our joint account. Please, I beg, on all that is holy, I can’t take it if they have any more questions. I am so close to screaming, “Uncle!” Damn you, historical low rates, damn you.